Thursday, August 27, 2009

Worst fear....almost

The first choice that any medical student makes is usually medicine or surgery. And we joke that particular temperaments go with that choice. I knew when I started school that I would be medicine; I just don't see myself as a surgeon. I really do see myself as the doc who treats your chronic high blood pressure and heart disease and knows when your granddaughter graduates from kindergarten or the doc who delivers your baby, then takes care of mom, baby and dad besides. I never saw myself as wielding weaponry for the hack and slash of guts.

Here's the revelation. I love surgery. Who's surprised? Well, I was afraid of that - that I would find that I really like the OR, the cutting, the guts. I love the immediacy of patient relief after having a gallbladder out or the feeling of accomplishment when a patient's biopsy comes back showing you got their whole tumor out. It's a rush.

Now no worries. I am not changing my mind. I stand by family medicine/psychiatry. But if I were 25 or if I were single, I might change my mind right now. However, I took the time a couple years ago to really consider the type of life I want to lead and surgery isn't it. I can't stand the idea of five years or more of this schedule.

Besides, family practitioners get to cut! and deliver babies! and have long term relationships with their patients!

Whew - saved by the skin of my teeth!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Decision making capacity

Don't worryl I have not lost capacity. Nor have I lost sanity. Yet. But the big decision is looming. What to do with my life. Really the decision is made. Combined family medicine-psychiatry. I want to do both, hands down. I can't make up my mind.

Making that decision apparently causes everyone else in the whole friggin world to question my capacity. Not just "why do you want to do that?", NOOOOOOoooooo.

More like -

Why do you want to do family medicine?
Why do you want to do psychiatry?
Why do you want to do both?
Why not do internal medicine, med/peds, triple board....insert specialty here?
You don't need to study psychiatry - have my patients are head cases.

So here's the answers...

Why do you want to family medicine?

Because this, above all else, feels like the model of medicine that not only treats the whole person, but also considers the greater community outside. This is preventative medicine, acute care, peds, OBGYN, geriatrics, epidemiology, ongoing patient relationships. Because I adore children and old men and reproductive age women and teenagers and where else would I get to see all of those populations but in family medicine. Where else can I cut, counsel, prescribe, advise, recommend, befriend.

Why do you want to do psychiatry?

Admittedly, most doctors deal in some capacity with psychiatric issues. Some even spend time with med management. A lot fo pediatricians find themselves in the position of needing to be the main go to person for their patients psych issues. And I could do a lot of work with psychiatry as a family practitioner. But my desire to do psych is two fold. First, I love therapy and I think that people are reticent to try it when there is the possibility of a quick pharmaceutical fix. Who can blame them? Getting patients to do the work, find the introspection, change their lives to cope would be wonderfully fulfilling. Allowing patients the option to medicate appeals to me. Second, being able to treat my patients bodies and minds is highly appealing. A truly holistic approach to medicine.

Why do you want to do both?
Simply? I can't decide between them and I have the amazing opportunity to do both. More than that? Ultimately in addition to practice, I want to teach. I can think of nothing that would make me a better teacher than the combination of these two disciplines of medicine coupled with my experience as a teacher.

Why not do (insert specialty here)?

This is always a fair question. Only it never happens as an innocent query. Instead it is about pummeling me into choosing something else. Suck it up....

Internal Medicine - no kids
Med-Peds - no gyn
Triple Board - no adults, except in the psych part and three specialties in five years, scary
OBGYN - too much surgery for me
Neuro - need to ask? we haven't spoken in more than a year
Surgery - it's awesome and I would if I were younger

I won't lie. Making this decision was difficult. Every time I eliminated something, I made pros and cons. Then I mourned it's loss (except neuro). Then I moved on.

Now there's applications, personal statements, letters of rec, work, school, interviews to be done. And life to be lived. Let's go!!